NASA’s Advanced Electric Propulsion System (AEPS) and Aerojet Rocketdyne thruster successfully completed its first full-power test. It’s designed to be used by NASA’s Gateway lunar orbital outpost and on manned / unmanned deep-space missions, since the AEPS Hall thruster can run stably at power levels ranging from 4.2 kW to 12.5 kW. This is going to be a key component of the Power and Propulsion Element (PPE) module of Gateway, drawing 25 kW from the roll-out solar array (ROSA) assembly, which generates up to 60 kW. Read more for two videos and additional information.
Each engine is comprised of a Xenon Hall thruster, which is a power processing unit for controlling the electrical power feed, and a Xenon flow controller to throttle the engine’s thrust. Chemical monopropellant thrusters act as the main propulsion and maneuvering system for Gateway, using 11,000 lbs of xenon as a propellant with a service life of 50,000 hours.
Our AEPS thruster has demonstrated the high levels of power needed to operate the Power and Propulsion Element, and by extension, the entire Gateway. With a successful full-power test complete, Aerojet Rocketdyne is ready for the next phase of our advanced electric propulsion system in support of NASA’s Artemis program,” said Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen Drake.